Jason grew up in California. He received a scholarship to study engineering at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His parents were worried he'd meet and marry a Nebraska girl (and not come back to California)... They were right. Mandy grew up in Kearney, Nebraska. She stayed and studied at the University of Nebraska-Kearney toward a degree in education. Both Jason and Mandy came to faith in high school. In college, they each became involved as student leaders in The Navigators ministry at their respective universities.
Jason and Mandy's meeting is an interesting story they'd love to tell you sometime. To keep it short, Jason was in graduate school in Lincoln while Mandy was a missionary in Japan with The Navigators. They dated very intentionally long distance from first-date (March 2009) to engagement (September 2009). They tied-the-knot in May of 2010.
Shortly there after, discerning Jason's call to vocational pastoral ministry, they moved to Saint Louis so that he could pursue a Master of Divinity at Covenant Theological Seminary. While Jason pursued full-time studies and ministry opportunities, Mandy worked as an ESL elementary school teacher.
During their time in seminary, the Lord began to put it on their hearts to consider ministry in Japan after seminary. In the summer of 2013 they went back to Japan to visit friends, but also to visit some ministries of Mission to the World (MTW). With much consideration and prayer, they applied and were accepted as long-term missionaries in Japan with MTW. They joined the church-planting team in city-center Tokyo. Jason is a pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and Mandy is a rock-star missionary wife and mother.
The Schafers are moved by Japan’s great beauty and brokenness. Japanese people are diligent, thoughtful and loyal yet many Japanese struggle with isolation, depression and hopelessness. Most have never met a Christian or heard the hope of the gospel. The Schafers have a vision for sharing the hope of the gospel and helping to establish communities of faith in Tokyo, one of the most influential cities in Japan, Asia and the world. With the help of their ministry team, they moved to Tokyo in October 2017. They studied Japanese full-time for 2.5 years and just recently completed a 1.5 ministry internship. They are joining a church planting work in Setagaya, Tokyo.